Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

It will be a prime time, heavyweight Western Conference matchup as the Suns travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers, fresh off of the All-Star break. The Suns have been one of the most surprising teams in the league this season, and they are currently the two-seed in the West with a record of 24-11 overall. The Blazers and Damian Lillard are always a hot ticket, and they come into the matchup with a 21-14 record which is currently 5th in the Western Conference. They were playing well before the break, and hope to pick up right where they left off.

Chris Paul’s value continues to skyrocket

Chris Paul continues to solidify his first-ballot Hall of Fame candidacy, as he has helped transform what was a lowly Suns franchise for the last ten years, into a legitimate contender. He earned an All-Star selection for the 11th time in his legendary career, and his leadership and skillset paired with Devin Booker’s elite scoring ability has the Suns rolling, and gives them one of the most dangerous backcourts in the NBA heading into the second half of the season.

The Suns have gotten good in a hurry, and they will be out to prove to the world why they are a true contender heading into the playoffs. Other teams this season such as Denver and Boston who many picked to be contenders have struggled to find their rhythm and identity through the first half of the season with such a shortened offseason, but the Suns have been good since the jump, and have flourished in all of the madness. They will now face a dangerous Blazers team in their first game back from the All-Star break and have a chance to prove why their success in the first half of the season was no fluke.

Does Portland have enough depth to contend for a title?

No matter who wins this matchup Thursday, everyone knows that Damian Lillard is among the best scorers in all of basketball, and a true superstar. Lillard is having another terrific yeat offensively and has the Blazers in a much better position midway through the season than they were a year ago, but we have seen this story before throughout his career. Portland has not had great depth at any point in Lillard’s career and he has been relied upon to completely put the team on his back.

Concerning the starting five, Portland will soon welcome back CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, which will help dramatically as those two are key pieces to the team’s success moving forward. As for the bench, depth remains a question mark. Carmelo Anthony has been terrific coming off of the bench this season, but they need willing and capable defenders in order to truly contend in the playoffs, and not put so much pressure on their offense. They host a Phoenix team that also has plenty of offensive talent, and they hope to be able to slow them down.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

These trends are so hard to ignore here, as for whatever reason, Phoenix has been unbeatable on Thursdays, and great against winning teams. They are the healthier team coming in, and I think Deandre Ayton could have a big night against Portland’s bigs. Dame will most-likely have his usual big scoring night, but I think the Suns take home the dub on the road.

Prediction:
Suns -4.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

With all of the offensive studs in this matchup, it would be foolish to pick the under. This will be an offensive masterpiece from two of the better scoring teams in the league as the stars come out in Portland on Thursday night, with Dame, Booker, CP3, and Carmelo Anthony all coming out to play, fresh off of the All-Star break.

Prediction:
Over